School Disruptions Nonviolent and Violent
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Many events causing crises and disruptions can occur at any moment among students and school staff. A crisis is an unanticipated event that has a disruptive effect on a significant segment of the school population. It is unlimited in scope and frequently involves serious injury or even death. The serious injury may be emotional or psychological, not just physical. A disruption is an unauthorized event that significantly impacts the normal daily school routine or the population of the school.
There are many types of disruptions. Protesting is a free speech issue. Peaceful protests, walkouts, and unauthorized assemblies can be considered examples. Some become more disruptive than others, but in any particular school, any one can be disruptive.
Unlawful assembly of students or other personnel can have a disrupting influence. In numerous school districts throughout the country, requests are made to assemble in the school building for prayer. When organized, this activity is illegal within school buildings but can take place around the flagpole on school grounds. When the unlawful assembly occurs, some groups may protest the use of taxpayer money to pay for religion. If the group that advocates for prayer is not allowed to assemble, its sympathizers may protest the lack of respect for religion. In either case, disruption occurs.
Unmarried and/or teenage mothers populate many schools today. Approximately one million teenage girls become pregnant each year, which at the very least causes some disruption in their own lives. The responsibility of rearing babies and children can detract from academics and studying and leads to a high risk of dropping out for both the father and the mother. These students in essence lose their adolescence and the activities that go along with it. Many are forced to work in low paying and/or odd jobs to support and provide for their children. The burden created by these stresses can be disruptive to their present and future lives.
Children of divorce experience a crisis that sometimes spills over into the school. One in two U.S. marriages ends in divorce, and each year over a million children are involved in divorce proceedings. Today's typical family is a single-parent, blended, or step-family, not a nuclear family as in the past. The classroom sometimes is the safest place for some children to act out their emotional feelings.
Cult invasion creates another disruption. Children who are alienated from their families and have low self-esteem are particularly prone to cult participation. The cults prey on the child's fears and may include such activities as rituals and devil worship. Cults affect students' school performance and participation, as well as community harmony. Cult invasion may be a minor disruption on family and school lives, or it may have far-reaching, violent results.
Provided in partnership with The Council for Exceptional Children.
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